Sunday, March 19, 2017

It's the Birthrate, Not Immigration

Just for once, let me NOT write about Trump - although, even today’s topic is prompted by what he stands for, namely white supremacy.

White supremacists include Geert Wilders and Steve King. The former is a Dutch nativist, a Dutch Trump, who fortunately just lost an election in the Netherlands. King is an Iowa congressman who recently said that   “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”  This apes Breitbart News, Trump adviser Steve Bannon, the KKK and all others in Europe, America and elsewhere  who, under the guise of “nationalism,” believe that the white race has a corner on human civilization.

Today, this white panic is prompted in part by the fact that whites make up an ever smaller percentage of the world’s population. There is panic at the prospect that people who are white andChristian are increasingly being replaced by people of color, people who are Muslims, etc.
The French sociologist Auguste Comte is credited with the phrase “Demography is Destiny.” Today’s white supremacists  interpret this in racial terms. The way they see it: As race goes, so will power. If whites lose their numerical majority to people of color, the latter will then also rule over whites. It doesn’t help to point out that racial tribalism is no more inevitable than, say, society pitting dark-haired people against blonds, or brown-eyed against blue-eyed, or left-handed vs. right-handed.

But about one fact there can be no doubt: Like it or not, whites WILL become a minority. The trend has been under way  for several generations. The white European working and middle classes are simply not having as many babies as other groups. This is called the Demographic Transition (I’ll give a lecture on this in a future post).

For example, take the Bosnian War of the 1990s: The (Christian) Serbs were not multiplying (very much), while the Muslim Bosnians were. This led to a war which was essentially a turf battle.

Same in Israel/Palestine: The Palestinian population is growing so much more rapidly than the Jewish population that the long-term survival of Israel as a Jewish state looks increasingly untenable.

In some sense then, yes, “demography IS destiny:” The turf eventually belongs to those who live there, those who have the most babies.

So let’s look at the world and see who has the most and the fewest babies. Table One lists all the countries whose population is experiencing an annual growth of zero or LESS. The world’s total population is growing by about 1.1% per year, or nearly 100 million people.

             Table One: 28 Countries of the World Whose Population is Either Stagnant or Declining.
                                                   (List of   Countries by Population)

Growth Rate (%)
Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Czech Rep., Hungary, Belarus, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Georgia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia,
Eastern Europe; Former Communist world
-0.7 - 0 %
-0.2 %
Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Andorra:
Western Europe
-1.9 - 0 %
Cuba, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Bermuda, St. Helena, Ascension & Trist.
Caribbean or Atlantic islands
-0.6 - 0 %

As Table One clearly shows, the main area of the world’s population decline is Eastern Europe, or formerly communist countries (16 countries). In addition, 6 countries  of Western Europe (or formerly non-communist)  are also in decline, as are 5 Caribbean island countries (or Atlantic Ocean islands). The other lone major country that is losing population is Japan.

In contrast, Table Two lists  the countries whose populations are experiencing rapid annual growth of 2.5% or more.

                    Table Two:  33  Countries Experiencing Population Growth of 2.5% or More

Growth Rate (%)
Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Madagascar, Cameroon. Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi, Zambia, Senegal, Chad, Guinea, South Sudan, Burundi, Benin, Somalia, Togo, Congo, Liberia, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea
Sub-Saharan Africa
2.5 -  4.1 %
Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar
Middle East and South Asia
2.6 - 3.1 %

Table Two indicates that the vast majority of the countries with the most rapid population growth are African (27). The remaining 6 countries are  Muslim countries in the Middle East and in South-Central Asia (Afghanistan).

Let me make the following points, in relation to some currently widespread concerns - and errors:

1. How does America stack up? Fine. Our population’s annual  growth rate is a healthy but not excessive .07%. This translates to 2.3 million more Americans each year, which is economically and environmentally sustainable and desirable.

2. How about Western Europe?  By and large, that region is also okay, as the populations of the  United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland  and Scandinavia are still growing by half a percentage point annually. This, too, is both sustainable and desirable.

3. The case of Russia: We hear a lot about Russia these days. Trump allegedly colluded with Putin, Russia meddled in our election, etc. The Cold War’s bogeyman  is back.

Whatever bad things Russia (and/or Trump) may have done, let’s keep in mind that that country is economically and demographically weak and in great trouble. Its economy is smaller than that of South Korea, or one fourteenth the size of the US; its population is declining, now to less than half ours. Russia hardly represents an existential threat to the United States.

4.  In our “alarmist” times, we often get riled up by the media and by politicians, to the effect that we “are in demographic trouble.” American ideologues like to say that Europe is in big trouble, and Europeans prefer to magnify  America’s alleged  problems.

Much of the conversation centers around immigration and refugees, and the (racist) fear that the Western world is being flooded by Arabs and other Muslims (Europe) and/or by other people of color (America).

But here is the thing: after all is said and done, these much-feared population movements remain insignificant in their impact on demographic trends: There are today about 60 million displaced persons in the world. While this may be a record, it still does not alter the fundamental population growth rates in the various regions of the world.
Here and there, immigrants play a (minor) role in making up for a low birth rate (e.g. in the German labor force), but by and large, the birth rate remains  BY FAR the key factor in demographic trends EVERYWHERE.

Not only is the role of  migration  negligible in this regard, but so are  Malthus’s  Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
The 18th-century English scholar who was first to famously alert  us to the perils of  overpopulation posited that  only famine, disease and war could stop mankind from overpopulating and destroying the world.

So far, the horses of the Apocalypse are not even  making a dent: Africa’s population continues to explode, even though half  of its countries  are experiencing non-stop war, starvation,  genocide and epidemics.  The epicenter of the Ebola epidemic was Liberia, internecine warfare and genocide are nearly chronic  in South Sudan, Congo, Somalia and elsewhere, AIDS remains out of control throughout much of the continent, Boko Haram remains undefeated in Nigeria, Rwanda-Burundi lost a million people in the 1994 genocide, yet every one of these countries  is on the list of extremely rapid  population growth (See Table Two).
And equally prominent on that list are other countries where  civil war and other forms of carnage are raging -  notably Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Amazingly, one might have to put Malthusianism in reverse!

In some cases, absolute numbers are more meaningful than percentages, because of some countries’ enormous size:
China and India are still adding more people to the world BY  FAR than anyone else: China’s population is growing by 6.3 million each year, and India’s by an astounding 16 million. This is not sustainable, certainly not  for India, still one of the world’s poorest countries.

In sum, two things:

1. If you want to understand the world’s demographic trends, you need to focus primarily on birthrates, not on migration rates, which barely make a difference in the big picture.

2. White people, get used to it:  You ARE  going to be the  minority, whether you like it or not. Globally, this is already the case. And you know what? It doesn’t matter one damn bit. leave comment here

© Tom Kando 2017;All Rights Reserved